Long-ass post, because I’m practicing J-E translation… 

Rough English translation to Perfume’s 1mm. Yes, as per all their songs, it’s a pop tune that’s not about blurred lines, guns or stuff going around in the club. And no “Oh, just because” swimsuits/undie shots in their videos. 

好奇心任せの
日々に退屈して
(I got bored of these days, dependent on my curiosity)
一つのことだけ
追いかけてみるのが
(Just chasing after one thing constantly)
実は難しい
(is actually quite difficult)
本気になるくらい

(It’s just that you become serious about it)
気持ち次第だね

なんて思ってたけれど

(it all depends on your feelings, or that’s what I thought)

なんてことない
そんな訳ない
(it’s not that I’m unaffected)
ただ 現実は
ずっと 想像の
上を行く
(It’s just that reality far surpasses my imagination) 
覚悟がまだまだ
1mmも足りないね
(I’m yet lacking one millimetre of resolve)

最終電車に揺られてる

(I’m swaying on the last train of the day)
このまま遠くへ
行きたくて

( just want to go far away like this)
Ah 遠回り

(long way around/roundabout) 
Ah 夢を見て

(Having dreams)
何年経っても難しい

(No mattter how many years pass by, it’s hard)
全然しっくり
きてなくて

(It doesn’t feel ‘right’ at all yet) 
Ah 止まらない
もういい もういいよくないよ

(I can’t stop. It’s enough, it’s enough, but not yet)
全然どうしてこの気持ち
伝わらないね このままじゃ

(Why are my feelings not getting through to you at all? At this rate)
Ah やり直し

(I have to start over)
Ah 繰り返す

(I have to repeat this)
だんだんそうして近づくよ
(And in doing so, I come closer) 
線路は一本だけだから

(Since there’s only one road)
Ah 帰ろうよ
Ah さあ
(Let’s go home now) 

遠くの場所から
離れてみていれば

(If you look at things from that far-away place) 

おもしろおかしく
楽しめるかもけど

(It will all seem funny, and you’ll enjoy yourself) 
そんな場所にいたら
なにも変えられない

(But if you stay there, you won’t change anything) 
リスクから逃げたら
何も始められないよ
(If you run away from risks, you can’t start anything) 
なんてことない
そんな訳ない

(It’s not that I’m unaffected, not that at all ) 

(it’s not that I’m unaffected)
ただ 現実は
ずっと 想像の
上を行く
(It’s just that reality far surpasses my imagination) 
覚悟がまだまだ
1mmも足りないね
(I’m yet lacking one millimetre of resolve)

Then various refrains. I’m done now. 

15 notes

I need to buy a proper tablet and working pen one day. 

Stupid, OCD love

There are times that I feel like if I were to die tomorrow, my spirit would probably be restlessly roaming the earth instead of jetting off to paradise, frenetically pulling the strings to make sure no harm happens to my brothers, my parents, my partner, my mentors.

Just now, I spent an hour and a half on the SkyTrain to see my mother, only to realize the apartment was empty. Even though I’d just spent a full day with them yesterday, my anxiety shot up to panic levels when I learned that my mother was presently alone at the condo while everyone else was out doing their own thing. Even as I tried to concentrate on work (there’s loads of it, always) and my own creative work (lots to do!), my insides writhed with guilt at my computer desk until I finally convinced myself that I must, out of family duty, travel back on the train to talk to my mother and make sure she’s not feeling alone and bored.

I know full well about her solitary nature and her perfect contentedness in being alone. Still, I went. After bolting out of the SkyTrain, sprinting to the condo and hitting the elevator button like a jackhammer with my finger in an attempt to make it move faster, I open the door and find…no one there. 

I felt idiotic, and stared at the empty kitchen with no lights on, moving through empty rooms like a ghost. So, mom wasn’t lonely and moping around at home alone. She had no cell phone and everyone else was out, so how was I to know?

This feverish fear of my parents being left lonely stems from a Japanese documentary I watched over a decade back. It showed the phenomenon of "kodokushi" — people who die alone, only to be discovered days later. It’s about the tens of thousands of people (mainly seniors) who die alone because they live alone, utterly and completely disconnected from family and friends (unthinkable in a society long renown for social cohesion), who remain undiscovered for weeks and weeks after death and are only found by strangers who are bothered by the stench of reeking bodies. I remember my heart breaking at the sight of seniors living in a tiny room surrounded by garbage bags filled with empty packets of instant food (no one cooks for them and they can’t get motivated to cook for themselves), and an interview with an 80-year-old woman whose only conversation in one entire week is a brief transaction with the tofu vendor who passes by her house. It’s not even a conversation — it’s two sentences, completely shallow. But it’s all she had. And the image of the senior whose wall was still splattered with brown blood from when he last tried to kill himself (he hadn’t wiped it off, as a reminder of his low point).

I know this isn’t my family, not anywhere close to it, that we all keep in touch and that everyone loves each other too much to let any semblance of this happen. And I also know when we spend too much time around one another, mini-tensions arise, sometimes escalating to arguing and bickering. But even if my family finds my frequent phone calls and visits irritating, annoying, overbearing, suffocating and unnecessary, I promised myself they’d never, ever be left to feel “lonely” or “forgotten” like those seniors were.

I’d love to have pet rats some day. Like, five of them. They would have names like Snackticus and Ganache and Licorice and Spork (and maybe Torte). And a giant Maine Coone cat. For now, just fantasizing though. 

I’d love to have pet rats some day. Like, five of them. They would have names like Snackticus and Ganache and Licorice and Spork (and maybe Torte). And a giant Maine Coone cat. For now, just fantasizing though. 

37 notes

I went jogging around the seawall around 6:30am today,dark and grey day, angry clouds and what not. Around the bend I just thought, there’s all this scenery around me and I feel like it’s been years since I’ve really taken it in. Looking, not seeing. Then I saw an unexpected thing. 

1 note

Ever since watching that old 70s Japanese drama “Ashura no gotoku” (阿修羅の如く)— or rather, just the opening theme song of it — I’ve really been fascinated by the Mehteran, or the Turkish Janissary music. It was a really avant-garde thing to choose military music from Turkey for the theme song of a bunch of old/young Japanese ladies fighting with each other, but the whole legend around these guys is intriguing to no end. The actual song used for the drama is "Ceddin Dedden" ( a strangely moving Red Army/Turkish collabo version), but after listening to that thousands of times, this new song became a favorite. This song, the “Attack March”, was apparently played as a warning to the enemy that they were about to f*ck them up, and instilled fear far and wide. Also odd that the Janissaries were all men who were (forcibly) taken from defeated territories, and that the storied army started to decline after they chose guys who were never captives.

6 notes

Uh, that’s a pretty broad statement. 
The bird wasn’t actually dropping on her head, but the rest was real. 

Uh, that’s a pretty broad statement. 

The bird wasn’t actually dropping on her head, but the rest was real. 

1 note

On the importance of culture

I always undermine culture as being less important than basic stuff like roads and education, but having accessible culture is the difference between an awesome city and a depressing one. I was wondering why, while making a comfortable salary in Asia I was feeling poorer than I ever had in my life, and realized that it was all about my ability to access enriching culture. 

While in Tokyo I was paying dirt-cheap rent at $500 and making a middling salary, but looking back I was astounded how I ate the same cheap food (boiled egg, spinach, noodles) every single relentless night and how I’d always think about going then get frightened out of spending $50 on a concert. It’s a city where the cost of transit, water bills, cell phone, is such that $100 can seem to evaporate in thin air, you won’t even remember what you spent it on — with the constant pressure of saving money on mind, I didn’t dare think I could go out to enjoy a piece of theatre or a concert. A movie cost so much I’d have to agonize over the decision for two days before biting the bullet. I’d never felt so uncomfortable being alive before. 

I was asked to recommend sights in Tokyo and cannot dare to recommend Ueno Park because of the misery you see right outside the splendid parks and museums. 


In Paris, I didn’t even have a job. I didn’t have money, it was also an expensive city, but what made the experience so rich was the culture. Free symphony concerts. 10-euro, 20-euro tickets to see a live opera. An unbelievable discount for youths and students to go see the Louvre. There was nothing prohibitive about culture: they gave it away, and while there was a palpable poverty there like there was in Japan, I don’t remember constantly restraining and trying to kill the urge to go experience culture because it was everywhere, for next to nothing. And even without a large bank account, it made one feel incredibly rich and alive. 

Lately there’s a strange balance. Lots out culture there, much of it affordable, not very much of it memorable. Maybe it’s not cities’ fault at all, maybe it is the fault of the subject.

One of my favorite videos ever must be the one by French-Malian rapper Mokobé and Beyoncé Coulibaly. Lots of Coulibali/Koulibali/Coulibalys in France. He got a ton of flack from women for supposedly illustrating a stereotype of the Black girl in France, but he makes it explicit that this song is just about one person…and I think everyone either knows, or has at least witnessed, someone like her: diva-like, doesn’t give a crap what anyone else thinks, throws etiquette to the wind and is as crass as she is hot. Anyway, for your viewing pleasure…

One of my favorite videos ever must be the one by French-Malian rapper Mokobé and Beyoncé Coulibaly. Lots of Coulibali/Koulibali/Coulibalys in France. He got a ton of flack from women for supposedly illustrating a stereotype of the Black girl in France, but he makes it explicit that this song is just about one person…and I think everyone either knows, or has at least witnessed, someone like her: diva-like, doesn’t give a crap what anyone else thinks, throws etiquette to the wind and is as crass as she is hot. Anyway, for your viewing pleasure…